The Prophet's Sandal
There is not a civilization that has loved and celebrated its leader as Islamic civilization has loved and celebrated its Prophet, our master Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Love is the strongest of all human attachments, and is the greatest thing that distinguishes the relationship of Muslims with their Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who said, “None of you [truly] believes until I am more beloved to him than his very self, wealth, and all people.”
Shop hats decorated with the blessed sandal motif here
Motivated by this love, as well as by an understanding of the immense importance of the personal example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the Muslim community recorded and preserved his entire life in the most exacting detail. The Islamic scholars did not limit their attention to the moral and legal example of the Prophet alone (Allah bless him and give him peace). Rather, they also focused on his daily life, like his habits of eating, drinking, and sleeping, as well as other matters that do not have immediate legal implications. From that time, until this present day, Muslims have sought to imitate the example of their Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in all its details, unless they were of the particular matters that Allah Most High chose only for him.
The Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) external, physical appearance was also among the matters that Muslims paid great attention to, as were his habits of dress. Among the matters of external appearance, the Prophet’s noble sandals received particular attention, perhaps because of what his followers felt of utmost love and humility for the person of their beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), such that they saw themselves as less than his sandals.
The Companions & the Noble Sandals
The attention given to the noble sandals is not an innovated matter. Rather, the first generations, from the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), were the first to give them attention and importance, such that some of them were known to have distinguished themselves with serving the noble sandals. It has been reported by Ibn Sa`d that Anas (Allah be well pleased with him) was the keeper of the sandals of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
And Imam al-Sālihī reported in his work, Subul al-Huda wa’l Rashād (8:318) that `Abd Allāh ibn Mas`ūd (Allah be pleased with him) used to get up as soon as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) sat down, and would take off the latter’s sandals, and place them under his own arms. Then, when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would get up, he would put them on him. Many other narrations have been transmitted from the Companions giving exact descriptions of the noble sandals of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
The Attention Given by the Imams & Scholars to the Noble Sandals
A number of Imams gave the noble sandals of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) particular attention, authoring complete works in describing and praising them, and gathering that which was transmitted regarding this. Among them were:
1. Imam Abu Ishāq Ibrahīm ibn Muhammad ibn Khalaf al-Sullamī, famous as Ibn al-Hājj, who collected that which many poets and authors had written in praise of the sandals.
2. Imam and hadith master Abū al-Yumn `Abd al-Samad ibn `Abd al-Wahhāb Ibn `Asākir of Damascus (686 AH), who was buried in the Baqī` cemetery [in Madina], authored a treatise called A Sketch of the Sandal of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) (Timthālu Na`l al-Nabiyy), which is published.
3. The great mujtahid Imam Sirāj al-Dīn `Umar ibn Raslān al-Bulqīnī.
4. Imam Shams al-Dīn Muhammad ibn `īsa al-Muqri’, whose book was titled A Joy For Eyes By Verifying The Matter of The Sandals (Qurrat al-`Aynayn fī Tahqīq Amr al-Na`layn)
5. Imam Abū al-`Abbās al-Maqqarī of Tilmisān, who died in Egypt, wrote the most expansive work on the issue, An Opening From The Most High In Praising The Sandals (Fath al-Muta`āl fī Madh al-Ni`āl). This work is published, and has three abridgements. The first is by Radiyy al-Dīn Abu al-Khayr al-Qādirī; the second by Abū al-Hasan al-Dimintī; and the third by Shaykh Yūsuf al-Nabahānī (Allah have mercy on them all).
6. The author of the work Collected Pearls from the Bewildering Design and the Unique Exposition on the Characteristics of the Depiction of the Sandals of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) (al-La’ali’ al-Majmū`a Min Bāhir al-Nizām wa Bāri` al-Kalām fī Sifat Mithāl Na`li Rasūl Allāh), who was one of the scholars of Cordoba, as mentioned by the historian Abū Sālim al-`Ayyāshī in his famous travelogue.
The Place of the Depiction of the Noble Sandals & their Baraka
The depiction of the noble Prophetic sandals has had a special place in the hearts of Muslims since it points to one of the needs of their tremendous Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and since it inspires in them the utmost humility towards his high rank (Allah bless him and give him peace). Because of this, they took care to record this depiction, and to draw it, and they sometimes even placed it under their turbans, to feel their complete subservience to the tremendousness of this most noble Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). They also hung this depiction in their houses, seeking baraka from it.
Writers and poets wrote eloquently in praise of the noble sandals and in describing the feelings of ecstatic love for their wearer (Allah bless him and give him peace). Imam Abū al-`Abbās gathered a significant amount of these writing in his aforementioned work, as well as in his treatise Azhār al-Riyād
May the best of blessings and peace be upon the owner of these blessed sandals.